We waited ten years. I wish that I could say
the slaughter at the ending was more sweet
for all that time. It wasn't. Oh it may
have been ambrosial for the kings, but for the
others, the low ones, born to feed the gods
in battle, strong backed men who manned
the oars of the black ships, whom war's bleak odds
disfavored and who die alone, unmourned,
there was just the bitter taste of blood
the wild keening song of slashing blades.
Know this: for one long moment it was good
to stride wide streets triumphant and to flay
our enemies until they were just meat
carved for the hungry gods, who swallow lives
like water on some distant mountain peak
where vultures perch and raptors swoop and dive.
And when our enemies were all dead, I joined
the riot, took a woman by the hair.
She cried and fought and writhed against my groin.
I had her in the darkness and the fire.
And that, friends, was my war. I died that night
although I lived to row my way back home.
I still think of her eyes, the searing fright
that pierced me as I lay upon her bones.
When I was done, her blood poured out like wine.
I watched the living light flow from her eyes.
I dream her now, a ghost built of my sin.
She lives. At night, my sleep burns with her cries.
Ten years we waited; one night we made death
that rots my insides still. I hate this earth.